Home Sweet Home.

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Yesterday at this time, I was glad to be home, hunkered down in the house, fingers flying over the keyboard while the ping of freezing rain was hitting the windows.  It was an ugly and gray day, which began with a quick coating of snow, followed by that dreaded freezing rain which continued overnight.

So, this morning when I opened the screen door to head out to run the car, I expected to be slippin’ and slidin’ on the sidewalk and was pleasantly surprised to find the cement was dry and I could go on my walk after all.  A bonus day!  Since I thought there would be no walk, I piddled around before getting outside, so it was too late to make the two-mile round trip to the Park and be back on time for work.

I eked out three miles walking in the ‘hood.   That leaves me just ten miles to go to make my goal.  I hope to walk this weekend, but the window for walking is very small for Saturday and Sunday begins foggy and rainy so it will be an afternoon trek – likely the squirrels won’t be around by then because they come out in the morning, but go to bed early.

While on my walk this morning, I was watching a trio of squirrels playing tag.  There was a black squirrel, grey squirrel and a Fox squirrel (like Parker) and they had boundless energy as they chased one another in a tall tree.  They went up and down, around and around, and did some death-defying jumps as they frolicked on a huge oak tree.  I had to stop watching them as they would leap in mid-air from branch to branch in  mid-air and the one behind would follow.  Yikes!

Many of you have asked me about my furry peanut pals at the Park and where they go in the Winter.  I told you they do indeed stick around through the dead of Winter and even showed you some links of prior posts or photos I’ve taken showing squirrels noshing on nuts or looking for nuts with a snowy background.

 

I promised that once the trees were bare and the squirrels’ nest were exposed, I’d take some pictures of them.

By now the squirrels are set for Winter, even though we’ve got a few weeks before that actual event takes place on the calendar.  My little buddies will still appreciate if I visit and make a “dropping” of peanuts or walnuts, even though they’ve hidden enough peanuts, or other food they’ve foraged, to last three years!  You sure wouldn’t know they have such a stash if you saw the shameless begging when I arrive at the Park, and this sucker just doles out squirrel goodies like she doesn’t know those facts and figures.  That’s okay because I like to spoil them.

You may recall I told you about that extra layer of “underfur” and fat that Mother Nature provides so squirrels stay toasty through the cold and snowy Winter months, but it still must get cold in those drafty nests high up in the trees.  When reading about squirrels and their habitats recently, I learned that although most squirrels live in nests, some find refuge by taking over a tree cavity, perhaps a tree trunk decimated by a woodpecker.  Must be drafty with all those holes – hmm.  But most squirrels live in dreys, which are nests fashioned from twigs, which are first woven together by the squirrels for stability, then molded together using damp leaves and moss, even paper.  These nests are built on secure branches, often the fork of a tree, and may be as high up as 25-30 feet off the ground.  Inside the nest, in an area as big as two feet in diameter, there is shredded bark, grass and more leaves … all comfy and cozy for those long Winter nights ahead.

Since twigs and leaves are sure not as toasty as a down comforter or warm woolen blanket, the squirrels sleep with their bodies curled up together like a ball to maintain body heat and keep warm.

The neighborhood squirrels like when their humans build them squirrel boxes, which are simple wooden boxes with a hole they can pop in and out of, and they resemble an oversized birdhouse.  Our Park squirrels are troopers and their twiggy-and-leafy nests are “home sweet home” to them.

Below are some photos of nests I saw on my most-recent trip to the Park.

 

Here’s a couple of close-ups of the same nest:

closeup far away.jpg

closeup

You only think you are cold … what if you only had fur and a few twigs and leaves to keep you warm?

[Image of “Home Sweet Home” from Pinterest]

 

About lindasschaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, and this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for over three decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, although I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too.
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46 Responses to Home Sweet Home.

  1. The nests actually look larger and sturdier than I had thought. They still must get snowed on though, especially if there is a lot of snow. I’ll have to check out my trees to see where my backyard squirrels go…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Yes, they must have to bury deep in the nest to keep from getting soaking wet from the snow. I was surprised how they build the nests though. I can’t say I see squirrels with nest materials in their mouths shimmying up a tree. I hope the nests are deep enough to hide from the hawks. In the Summer I was feeding Stubby and a Cooper’s Hawk came after him. Stubby ran under a picnic table and evaded him but the hawk went over to a chain-link fence and sat there. I had never heard of a Cooper’s hawk but someone identified it as a chicken hawk. I compared the pictures online and then discovered that parts of the City have hawk nests built up high on telephone or utility poles and the hawks are going after squirrels, small birds, mice – I was horrified. That was before the coyotes, which thankfully I’ve not heard of or read about any sightings in a few weeks.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. susieshy45 says:

    Thanks for sharing this information and those pictures- I would have thought they were giant birds’ nests, had you not told me different. I love those pictures of their jumps in the snow and their standing upright like brown polar bears. They all look happy even though they might be cold – and do you think they complain or whine to each other? How beautiful that picture is of the squirrel jumping in the snow. Glad your target is in sight – hopefully the freezy day gave you enough time to complete your work and get to date.
    Susie

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I like those pictures of the squirrels in the snow too Susie – they were taken and are in the February 18, 2018 post and I was going to put the post in this one, but decided just to use the pictures instead. It was a lot of snow pack … and that snow was hard and “crispy” for lack of a better description.

      I decided I would be able to get a few pictures of nests to share and there were lots of nests – these were the biggest and easiest to see. I was interested to find out just how sturdy those nests were.
      Amazing how they plaster the leaves to the twigs to make them more durable. I had a robin who used to try to nest in my front coach lamp – this happened for years every Spring. I’d tear down the nest as the robin would drop mud and droppings onto the mailbox lid and on the front porch and that would be in the morning and the next day I’d go out to walk and there was a full-size and big (and well-made, as in sturdy) nest again. The male robin would be sitting nearby and as soon as I took the nest down, it would chatter angrily. If it had built the nest in the back I’d have left it – just not in the front yard, over the coach light – it made the house look abandoned looking.

      I do think I will be done by Monday for sure – I don’t know about tomorrow – rain is coming too early in the morning and not letting up – I will get stuff done in the house and make the goal by Monday for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

      • susieshy45 says:

        I am not sure whether to envy you your cold weather or not. I have grown to love squirrels through your posts. On my trip to the US, when I saw squirrels running gaily on sidewalks, I stopped, tried to get a good picture in, all the while thinking about you. Our squirrels, if at all we see any, are skinny.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        They are easy to love Susie with their bright eyes, bushy tails and cute personalities. They do have personality. I wish you had some where you live to enjoy their antics like you saw when you visited to Pennsylvania and California. I don’t mind the cold weather but I don’t like ice and snow – cold weather you just bundle up … of course don’t remind me I said that when we have below zero temps and a horrible windchill and I complain about it. Sometimes the weather here in Michigan will get downright brutal without the snow and ice!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow only 10 miles left! You will be finished early…great job!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you! I am surprised I’ll be finished earlier Diane given our horrible October and November weather. We had a lot of rain in October and rain, snow, freezing rain several times in November, similar to your weather. No walk this morning as rain was not coming until 10:00 a.m. but we have freezing fog right now so it is foggy and slippery … so, I will get some housework done and be done with that and some other chores in the house I put off as I had outside work last Sunday. I should finish up on Monday now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sunday is looking like better weather in afternoon here. I hope your weather clears up as well! I think we have had enough rain…oh wait….at least it’s not snow. 😃

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        We will have nice weather Sunday afternoon too Diane – no squirrel experience though … even in Summer, they come out in the morning, then go back up in the tree, sometimes I’ve gone in late afternoon if it rains in the morning and it is like a totally different park. We’ll have 54 degrees so definitely no snow – the weather is crazy this year!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. They sure look cute (and rather different) in that white stuff! I sure hope that the later winter weather will be mild and not too tough on them! Making a nest in a spiked honeylocust tree is a prudent thing to do! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      They do look cute in the snow Tom … they remind me of when I was young and playing outside in my snowsuit and bundled up and my friends and I all looked alike. I don’t know how we walked as we had those big brown galoshes over our shoes, snow pants and bib, and heavy coat … all you saw were our eyes above the scarf wrapped around the face. My mother would say “go play outside and get the stink off of you!” I don’t think we are getting that El Nino that they promised us earlier … not going to happen with this snow and ice we’ve already had and now we have freezing fog this morning. When it lifts, a totally rainy day.

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  5. John says:

    Beautiful pictures on the squirrels!😊 I have never seen so many So many squirrels nests. Has actually not seen more than maybe 5 total in all walks of nature

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thanks John and there are so many nests in the neighborhood trees as well. They seem to be bigger nests too – maybe because there are more twigs and leaves to gather. It is amazing to me that these nests provide shelter for them as cold as it gets here – the squirrels are as happy as me when nice weather returns in the Spring. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. ruthsoaper says:

    We have a few squirrels nests high up in trees on the farm. It amazes me how well hidden they are until the leaves fall from the trees. Yesterday I noticed a pile of hickory husks on our beach and smiled at the thought of a squirrel cracking them open and removing the nuts on the beach. Good for you Linda, taking advantage of the non-icy morning. Woo Hoo you are almost there!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Yes, those nests are concealed by the leaves and now I’ll worry a hawk may swoop down on them while they are sleeping in them or staying up there to keep warm … I wonder if they have a squirrel stand guard for the other ones’ safety like the ducks do? When I go to Elizabeth Park and Heritage Park there are many ducks, and often in the morning they are on the grass preening or sleeping – there is always a lookout duck watching for predators. The squirrels on your beach are pretending it is still Summer and they could be scampering about in beautiful weather (not that we had much of it in 2018) … do you ever see the squirrels drink from the water there Ruth? I never see them drink from the Creek water and they don’t go past the banks so I have no idea where they find a water source? I should finish my miles on Monday now Ruth – it was supposed to start raining at 10:00 a.m. and continue all day but we have freezing fog here in my neck of the woods so I am staying put – hope your weather is a little better there.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ruthsoaper says:

        It seems as if being in a tree amongst the branches the squirrels should be safe from hawks. I think the hawks wing span prevents them from swooping into the branches.
        I haven’t witnessed squirrels drinking from the pond but suspect, they, like the deer and raccoons do. The also eat grains that have been scattered on the ground for the chickens so I have no doubt that they are well fed. 🙂 We didn’t have the freezing fog this morning and it didn’t start raining ’til around 2:00 this afternoon.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        You made me feel better Ruth – I never thought about the hawks and their wingspan and I should have because when I see them up above, they are gliding and not flapping their wings – so that does make me feel better. When I had birdbaths, the squirrels would climb up the birdbaths … they were resin with designs on them and the designs allowed the squirrels to use their claws to hang on – they would be drinking there, but they must do it at the Park by climbing down the embankment … the sides are slippery and I have to be careful I don’t fall in – that water is so murky, no one would find me! We had a totally rainy day – rain started after the fog lifted and it will be rainy and foggy til tomorrow afternoon. Glad it is not snow!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. We have quite a few squirrels nest too. They are very distinctive as they are so large. The materials can shed snow and water. They also grow furry ear tuffs which keep their tiny ears warm. So cute!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      That’s good to know that those nests are waterproof … I didn’t realize they molded them together with wet leaves until I read the article … those squirrels are smart and cute! I’ve not seen the squirrels with the furry ears tufts but we do have gray squirrels but just in the neighborhood … they are not friendly like the Fox squirrels so I’ll have to look closer for the furry ear tufts next time I see them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • They are little white tuffs that you don’t see in the summer. Nature’s insulation!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Okay, now I get it Kate – I have to pay more attention to them … make them stop so I can check them out! Maybe Mother Nature is not so bad after all – she gave us 60 degrees today.

        Liked by 1 person

      • So jealous. We were supposed to hit low 60s. We never made it beyond 49 and it drizzled all day. Forecast was totally off.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Maybe tomorrow – don’t you sometimes get our weather tomorrow? I know my friend Carol in NY has that happen. She used to speak with her mom here in Lincoln Park every day – they’d chat about the weather.
        Carol would have the exact same weather as us the next day. Most of the time anyway – she had a 13 inch snowfall around the same time you had your whopper storm. We had a totally drizzly day yesterday and morning freezing fog. No words for this weather – 60 today, chance of snow tomorrow afternoon!

        Liked by 1 person

      • We do get it later but today was supposed to be a really nice day here and I don’t know what happened.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I hate when that happens and today I went out on a walk without an umbrella because the weatherman said “no rain til overnight” … the sun (remember that) was shining brightly. Then a black cloud came along, it poured like crazy and the sun returned while it was pouring. Annoying. Once and done on the rain – bad timing though.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I didn’t realize that squirrels build nests like this. Once the forest behind us is bare I’ll have to get my binoculars out and see if there are any nests up in the trees. I do hear the squirrels chattering high up in the forest canopy. Parker & Co. look adorable in the snow. All he needs is some mittens and a warm hat! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      It is interesting to see those nests once the trees are bare as you can’t see them at all once the trees leaf out around May. That day I took the snow pictures was February 18th this year … it was very cold that day but clear on the perimeter path so I went on a five-mile walk. The squirrels came out on the pathway so I could feed them. There was quite a bit of snow pack where they were playing in the snow. We had a snowstorm on December 9th and after that it just kept snowing and snowing until April! We had 62 inches of snow last Winter season.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Laurie says:

    We have lots of squirrel nests in the little woodlot behind our house, too. I have never seen a black squirrel back there, though. Just in the woods several hours north of our house. We had just plain rain here today, but it held off long enough for us to take our grandsons to a Christmas parade. We went to a friend’s house afterward for lunch and our grandsons were enjoying playing outside with her grandsons. The rain finally drove them inside, which was too bad. It’s supposed to get up into the 60s tomorrow. Yay!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Yes this rain is a pain and supposed to be heavy within the next hour they say and through mid-day and we were excited for 54 and now they say 57, not far behind you. How exciting is that – you can go on a long walk too. The Christmas parade sounds nice – they have one in Wyandotte a few cities over and it draws a big crowd as it goes through the business section and they have a lot of nice little shops. Nothing like seeing a little child’s face light up when they see the floats and then Santa at the end!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Mackenzie says:

    That’s fascinating about the squirrels and how they adapt during the winter. & those nests are HUGE! wowza!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Yes I thought all along they were getting fat on treats – I didn’t know they got an extra layer of fat and fur to help them along. They are huge nests and you’d never know they were that big until the leaves come down and then you can see them – not more hiding away!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Ann Marie stevens says:

    Miss Linda………………………thanks for letting me know about where and how the squirrels live and keep warm through our long windy and freezing cold winter……………………………I know their extra fur helps them to keep warm…………………………….I didn’t know their large nests were called “dreys”

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Hi Ann Marie – now when you look up while walking in the morning you’ll be watching for cute squirrels peeking over the top of the nest, just like you saw baby robins peeking over their nests back in the Spring. It seems impossible they could stay warm but they do and that extra layer of fat and fur helps them out too. I didn’t know about the word “dreys” until I read that article – I learned a lot from reading it.

      Like

  12. I think you should build Parker a nice warm condo box……maybe with cable & a phone so you can tell him when your coming over!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I think you are right Wayne because what kind of “foster mother” am I just leaving him out in the snow and cold without any amenities? The phone is a good idea so he doesn’t climb down and leave his place in the nest huddle until the last possible moment and risk possibly lose his place. 🙂

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      • I can just see him trying to microwave some nuts while sipping his morning drink while watching the TV

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Ha ha … you know, despite all the animation around my feet at feeding time, I think Parker is really a laid-back kind of squirrel. I could see him ruling the roost up there in the nest, kicking back and taking it easy. He says “I worked hard to provide for you guys, now it is ME time!”

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      • he’s more trusting than the others because he’s known you longer.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I miss that little guy when I don’t see him and it’s been a few days … yesterday it poured raining enroute to the Park. Sky was really unusual … a huge black cloud overhead and then a big downpour. Minutes before it was sunny. The cloud moved on, but the rain did not and the sun was shining and pouring rain on the way home. Got soaking wet because no rain was predicted until nightfall so had no rain gear. Grrrr. This morning I’ll make amends to him.

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      • carry one of those purse ponchos for moments like that. Once you open those things up however you can never get them to fold back up as small.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I was believing the weatherman … I do carry one of those in my fanny pack in the Summertime because I worry about a torrential rain storm blowing up and damaging the camera since it is just in its own case hanging on my fanny pack. I also have plastic bags to put over the camera case in case I didn’t have time to get to the poncho. Sometimes out of nowhere a dark cloud shows up and it’s a soaking rain, even though it’s not predicted. My dentist used to give them out when you had a visit and you’re right, you can’t fold them up again and sometimes they stick together, so if you don’t have shelter to dash, you may be pulling apart the poncho before wearing it. I have a heavier one that I got from the Army Surplus store and it is camouflage colored which I used to keep in my work tote bag for Winter to put over my Winter coat to make the snow slide off … sometimes standing waiting for the bus a long time, the snow would be piling up on your clothes and tote bag, so the poncho covered it all up and worked well. Haven’t used it since the Winter of 2008, the last Winter I was still working on site.

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      • I too have a special plastic camera poncho but never use it because I never take shots in poor weather.Poor weather means poor light & if you have poor light I see no reason to take shots!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I agree with you and you don’t want to damage your equipment. In the months I am not wearing a coat I just worry about a sudden rainstorm coming and the camera getting wet. It didn’t matter yesterday as I had the camera under my coat and it didn’t get wet (although I did) … I had a light wool jacket on and it sure didn’t repel the water.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. sharonchyy says:

    You got beautiful and lovely pictures of those squirrels 🐿 NESTS Wow 😮 TFS and enjoy your new week.

    Liked by 1 person

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